The restoration of the Dyer River Tributary was a ground-breaking example of ecological restoration efforts that improved a site’s ecosystem services and provided economic benefits to the agricultural landowner and community.

The tributary was part of a grazing area for cows, which, over time became a severely degraded waterway from stormwater runoff and agricultural impacts. The team worked with the farmer to develop a plan to purchase the stream and buffer areas without harming the ability to continue using his land for agricultural purposes. Furthermore, an adaptive restoration approach used local labor, equipment and materials to install fencing, and minimized site disturbance through low impact methods for earthwork and plantings.

The ecological design approach proposed an innovative combination of plant species, layout and sizes that created a tree and shrub stream buffer that filtered runoff and needed no maintenance 12 months after planting.

Vegetative and natural bioengineering materials such as, willow wattles, shrub cuttings, live stakes of willow branches, coir rolls, wood excelsior, and stone –  were used successfully to stabilize and rebuild streambank edges.  Water quality has improved dramatically on the downstream end and erosion has been checked.


Maine Department of Transportation, Office of Legal Services

Agency:US Environmental Protection Agency